Mainland China adds 2 deaths Sunday as cases subside; world weekly infections up 3%

By Allen Cone
People line up for a PCR test for COVID-19 in Chaoyang district in Beijing, China, on Sunday. Despite the increase in cases, China loosened COVID-19 curbs as Beijing subway and buses no longer require negative results taken within 48 hour starting Monday. Photo by Wu Hao/EPA-EFE
People line up for a PCR test for COVID-19 in Chaoyang district in Beijing, China, on Sunday. Despite the increase in cases, China loosened COVID-19 curbs as Beijing subway and buses no longer require negative results taken within 48 hour starting Monday. Photo by Wu Hao/EPA-EFE

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Mainland China's COVID-19 cases are easing from a record high seven days ago though the nation, where the virus originated nearly three years ago, reported two additional fatalities.

Worldwide, infections rose 3%, the first increase in a few weeks, to 3,033,991 for a cumulative 649,982,207 though fatalalities were down 12% for 8,204 for a total 6,646,459, according to The deaths of 1,172 are among the lowest since 1,075 March 21, 2020, 10 days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.


On Sunday, 470 deaths, the lowest since 433 March 13,2020, were reportee one day after 643, and 265,087 cases were added, one day after 330,946.

Some nations do not report data on weekends. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has gone to weekly updates.

The records were 3,846,595 cases on Jan. 21, during the height of the Omicron subvariant, and 16,887 deaths on Jan. 21, 2021, when the Delta subvariant was at its peak. Worldometers sometimes updates totals from as far back as the start of the pandemic.


On Sunday, China reported 31,824 cases, less than the record 39,791 cases seven days ago. That week they were the most since the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

On Nov. 20, China reported its first death from COVID-19, the first in six months.

The death toll has reached 5,235, up only the two deaths announced Sunday in the past week. Before a spike in April, that necessitated a lockdown, it was 4,636, which stayed at that number since early February 2021.

The number of confirmed cases Sunday was 4,213. It was 5,659 on April 29. Those are confirmed cases with illness. Asymptomatic ones are reported separately in Mainland China.

Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who is heads public health matters, said Wednesday that China was in "a new stage" of fight against coronavirus.

China has had a "zero tolerance," including lockdowns. But in the past few months the restrictions have been eased, including limiting its contact tracing and eliminating requiring people stuck at home for weeks just because they lived in a neighborhood where a case had been detected.

On Wednesday, the southern city of Guangzhou announced that it would lift lockdown measures in key districts. In that city, people clashed with police demonstrations against restrictions.


The southwestern city of Chongqing also eased restrictions.

Chinese authorities earlier they would ease a monthslong Covid lockdown in the western region of Xinjiang "in stages" at "low-risk" neighborhoods. The region has closed to 4 million people.

In Shanghei, the nation's financial hub will scrap PCR testing requirements to enter outdoor public venues including parks and public transit effective Monday, city authorities said in a statement Sunday.

Last week protests hit Shanghai, a city of 25 million under lockdown for two months earlier this year. And about 700 miles away, protests also took place in the capital Beijing, which has avoided a lockdown.

In Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, said it would end testing requirements to ride the subway.

Apple Inc. has intensified plans to shift some of its production outside China to other Asian countries, particularly India and Vietnam.

In Apple's main iPhone production plan in Zhengzhou in central China, the Foxconn factory amounts to 10% of global iPhone production capacity. There are about 200,000 workers at the plant.

Last week, health officials announced plans to push seniors to get up to date on vaccines though mandates won't be instituted.


China's vaccination rate is 92% with at least once dose but just 40 percent of Chinese older than 80 have received the extra shot. Initially they were offered to only adults 19 to 60.

Unlike the rest of the world, Chinese residents are limited to domestic vaccine maker.

Hong Kong, like China, has adopted a "zero tolerance" for coronavirus with strong restrictions eased, including hotel quarantine for arrivals from other nations.

Medical experts told the South China Morning Post that Hong Kong is unlikely to further relax its restrictions before the end of the winter peak season and the wider adoption of the new Omicron-specific vaccine in the city.

Hong Kong reported 16 deaths and 9,487 cases Sunday with the record 79,876 on March 3.

On Thursday, 10,137 cases were reported, the most in two months. A pandemic advisor said Friday it may peak in two weeks.

In the past week, Asia reported 46.8% of the world's confirmed cases and it rose 5% for a cumulative 200,032,007, according to The continent has 59% percent of the world's population.

Also increasing: South America 35% for 65,389,312 and Africa 7% for 12,713,347.

Decreases were Oceania 7% for 13,124,270, Europe 4% for a world-high 239,259,895, North America 3% for 119,462,655.


Two continents reported increases in deaths: Asia also 13% for 1,499,678 and South America also 13% for 1,336,491.

Decreasing were North America 26% for 1,565,792, Africa 39% for 258,122, Europe 25% for a world-high 1,963,968, Oceania 10% for 22,393. In the previous week Africa rose 193%.

Japan, Brazil, Australia, Peru, Hong Kong reported increases in both deaths and cases in the past week.

Japan again posted the most weekly cases, 758,805 in a 12% increase and was second in deaths at 1,157, a 32% gain.

France's 388,344 infections were second in the world, with a 27% rise, and deaths were 425, a 1% drop in sixth.

South Korea was third in infections with 371,038, a 2% decrease with deaths 349, just one less than the previous week, in eighth.

The only other cases' increase among nations with at least 25,000: Brazil 32% in fifth at 193,791, Germany 10% in sixth at 184,697, Australia 11% in ninth at 96,609, Peru 91% in 10th at 67,422, Hong Kong 9% in 11th at 62,427, Russia 11% in 12th at 42,157, Austria 13% in 13th at 32,629, China 38% in 16th at 26,859.

Decreases in the past week in descending order were United States 2% in fourth at 248,774, Taiwan 5% in eighth at 101,798, Indonesia 26% in 14th at 31,562, Chile 17% in 15th at 27,990.


Among nations reporting more than 100 deaths with increases in the past week: Brazil 21% in fourth at 668, Indonesia 6% in ninth at 312, Australia 14% in 14th at 138, Philppines 26% in 15th at 130, Hong Kong 37% in 16th at 118, Peru 4% in 17th at 117,

Decreases were United States 17% at No. 1 at 1,339, Italy 22% in fifth at 462, France 1% in sixth at 425, Russia 2% in seventh at 387, Britain 43% in 10th at 308, Taiwan 21% in 11th at 239, Chile 3% in 12th at 186, Spain 30% in 13th at 177.

The United States leads with 1,106,840 fatalities and 100,863,106 infections. The nation also holds the world record for daily cases at 906,799 on Jan. 7. Brazil is second in deaths at 690,231, including 18 Sunday, and fifth in cases at 35,408,852 including 8,693 most recently.

India is second in cases at 44,673,392, including 226 Sunday, the lowest since 146 March 30, 2020, and third in deaths at 530,628 including one most recently. Zero the last time was March 24, 2020.

India has the daily deaths record at 4,529 on May 18, 2021, with no adjustments from regions.

In the top 10 for deaths, Russia is fourth with 392,231 including 55 Sunday, Mexico is fifth with 330,525 and no weekend data, Peru sixth with 217,470 including 29 Saturday, Britain seventh with 197,253, Italy eighth with 181,733, Indonesia ninth with 159,978 including 25 Sunday and France 10th with 159,093.


In the top 10 for cases, France is third with 38,057,974 including 40,006 Sunday, Germany fourth with 36,557,861, South Korea sixth with 27,261,526 including 52,726 Sunday, Japan seventh with 25,130,886 including a world-high 109,591 Sunday, Italy eighth with 24,488,080, Britain ninth with 24,024,746, Russia 10th with 21,617,601 including 6,598 Sunday.

On Wednesday, Japan reported 138,396 cases, the most since 151,513 Sept. 2. And deaths Sunday were 142 after 210 Wednesday, the most since 212 Sept. 10.

Japan's seven-day moving case average is 108,401 compared with 26,325 Oct. 12 and under 20,000 in early July with the daily record 255,316 Aug. 18.

Throughout the pandemic Japan has had a low deaths rate.

Japan has 401 deaths per million, which is 141st in the nation, with the world at 852.6 and Peru No. 1 at 6,456. In cases, Japan's rate is 200,824 per million in 86th place with the world 83,336 and Austria the highest among large countries at 615,074 with France 579,831, Portugal 546,941 and Denmark 539,632. Japan's population is 125 million.

Princess Cruises, a Carnival Corporation brand, plans to resume trips in its homeport of Japan on March 15. The Diamond Princess will take off from Tokyo.

Japan banned cruise in March 2020 after a fatal coronavirus outbreak took place in February on the Diamond Princess. About 3,700 people on board were forced into a two-week quarantine.


"The reopening of Japanese ports to the international cruise industry is an important and welcome development that not only vastly expands the vacation opportunities available to guests but also helps to significantly strengthen the Japanese tourism economy," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises, in the news release.

Holland America Line, also a subsidiary of Carnival, announced some of its own itineraries in Japan for early 2023.

South Korea's seven-day cases average is 53,005 but it reached 404,626 on March 19, when the daily record was 621,328 on March 17. The nation reported 71,476 cases Tuesday, the most in three months.

South Korea's fatalities Sunday were 60.

Cases also have been spiking in France with 91,814 Tuesday, the most since 124,009 July 26, and 52,908 Saturday, the second most in the world behind Japan for confirmed cases with South Korea third at 52,908.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified 5.7% of counties, districts and territories with a "high" category transmission level, compared with 24.8% "medium" and 69.5% "low." In "high" locations, masks are urged indoors mainly in scattered places in the Plains and Rockies.

The CDC reported 303,0101 cases in the past week. Six weeks ago it was 261,176, the lowest since 227,179 April 13. The record was 5,607,184 Jan. 19.


And the deaths average was 1,780, the lowest since 1,679 Jul 7 and the record 23,372 Jan. 13, 2021.

The predominant Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 represented 31.9% of the total cases in the week ending Saturday with BQ,1 at 30.9% and BA.5, which dominated since the early summer, dropped to 13.8%. Omicron overall totals 100%.

In its weekly report Thursday, the CDC said the U.S. adult one-shot vaccination rate was 91.5% with completed primary service at 78.5% and updated booster doses 14.7%. The full population rates are 80.5% for one shot, 68.8% for completed primary and 12.7% updated booster 5 and older.

"New variants of SARS-CoV-2 are expected to continue to emerge," the CDC wrote in its report. "Some variants will emerge and disappear, while others will emerge and continue to spread and may replace previous variants."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said the United States is "certainly" still in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic .

"As a public health official, I don't want to see anyone suffer and die from Covid," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Bide, told NBC's Meet the Press the previous Sunday. "I don't care if you're a far-right Republican or a far-left Democrat, everybody deserves to have the safety of good public health and that's not happening."


The U.S. reported Sunday 35,632 were hospitalized from 29,450 a week ago, which is far below the record 160,113 (20.6%) on Jan. 20, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Since the start of the pandemic, total new admissions were 5,571,393 with a 17.6% rise in the seven-day average.

Total hospitalizations were 560,686 at 79.49% capacity.

Seasonal influenza activity is high and continues to increase across the country.

The CDC estimates so far this season, there have been at least 8.7 million illnesses,78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from flu. The deaths include at least 14 children.

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